Story-Big Horn Christmas Bird Count is Saturday

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(Photo Ron Richter ©)

The 46th annual Story-Big Horn Christmas Bird Count is scheduled to take place Saturday.

The winter bird survey is part of the National Audubon Society 118th annual Christmas Bird Count. Count Coordinator and Compiler Ariel Downing said the bird count was instituted in 1973 by local birding enthusiasts Esther McWilliams, Jean Daly and Helen Downing. She said that Birders are grouped into teams who count and record bird species and numbers of individual birds along prescribed routes.

5 teams of from 2 to 6 observers each will spend about eight hours in the field identifying species and counting individual birds. Additionally, feeder watchers will participate by tallying various species observed at their bird feeders at home. Every Audubon bird count lies within a fifteen-mile diameter circle, drawn on a map, and all routes must be within that circle. The perimeter of the Story-Big Horn count circle touches those of the Sheridan and Buffalo CBCs, ensuring continuous collection of data over a nearly contiguous geographical area, for more than forty consecutive years.

Participants also measure outside temperature, stream conditions, snow cover and the availability of food sources for various bird species, all of which can affect overwintering bird species. The objective of each Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count is to obtain information about which bird species spend the winter in the Story-Big Horn area, approximate numbers of individual birds of various species, and to collect data about winter conditions affecting birds and other wildlife. Information obtained over a several years may be used to identify trends, such as migratory patterns, species in decline, climate trends and other developments in the biosphere.